CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A University of Cincinnati police officer’s recent arrest on a charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol was the third time in just seven months he came under investigation for incidents reported while he was accused of drinking, his employment records show.
FOX19 NOW reviewed more than 300 documents related to Officer Andrew Mueller that UC officials released to us in response to a public records request.
- Just 10 days before Mueller’s Jan. 26 OVI arrest in Liberty Township, UCPD gave him a written reprimand, on Jan. 16, for “Unbecoming Conduct" related to a Dec. 12, 2019 domestic disturbance incident report, also in Liberty Township. UCPD determined he violated Ohio laws for Telecommunications Harassment and Criminal Trespass by calling a woman more than 30 times in one night and going to her home despite her telling him not to after drinking.
- That came six months after UCPD suspended Mueller without pay for five days when an internal investigation determined he was drinking alcohol and possessed a gun at a Montgomery bar on June 20, 2019, violating a state law - possession of firearm in beer liquor permit premises - that is a felony. He also was removed from a special assignment in Community Engagement and ordered back to the patrol bureau.
- Mueller was not criminally charged by Montgomery police and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office in either case despite agreeing to the essential facts of both cases during UCPD internal investigations. The women in both cases didn’t want to participate in prosecution or have charges filed and, in the gun incident, Montgomery police felt they could not prove he had the weapon at the bar.
But UCPD supervisors held him to a higher standard administratively, writing in his January reprimand: “Employees shall conduct themselves at all times, both on and off duty, in a manner, which is keeping with the highest standards of the public safety profession.”
In addition to concluding Mueller, 29, violated state laws, they took administrative action via the suspension and written reprimand. They also concerns to Police Chief Maris Herold.
“Officer Mueller was the subject of an internal investigation in June 2019. As a result of Officer Mueller’s action on June 20, 2019, Officer Mueller was found in violation of UCPD Policy ...Conformance to Laws. He was subsequently given a five-day suspension without pay and removed from a specialty assignment. Both of these incidents have shown that Officer Mueller has a propensity for poor decisions while consuming intoxicating beverages," Captain Jeff Thompson, UCPD’s Standards and Strategic Development Commander, wrote in a memo to the chief.
“Given consideration that this is the second such incident within the past six-month period, I recommend Officer Mueller attend a fitness for duty evaluation to be conducted by a department appointed licensed clinician that specializes in law enforcement and fitness for duty. Additionally, if the clinician determines that further treatment or evaluation is recommended, he shall attend all treatments, evaluations, appointments, etc. until the clinician deems them no longer required.”
It’s not clear if that fitness for duty evaluation was initiated before Mueller was arrested on the OVI charge.
Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers say he drove around a barricade at the scene of an earlier crash on Ohio 747. He was not involved in the crash but failed to yield to a police officer, almost causing another collision, they said.
Mueller stopped before striking a stopped OSP vehicle.
RELATED | UC officer arrested on OVI charge
He “displayed numerous signs of intoxication. The defendant’s speech was very slurred, he could not maintain his balance and his eyes were very bloodshot. There was also a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath," troopers wrote in a criminal complaint.
Court records show he refused tests to measure his level of intoxication.
Mueller has pleaded not guilty and the case returns to court March 4.
UC Police suspended Mueller’s police powers on Jan. 27, the day after his OVI arrest, according to records in his personnel file.
He was put on restricted administrative duty until the criminal court case is resolved, records show.
Earlier this month, UC Human Resources granted his request for a paid medical leave of absence Feb. 4 through Tuesday, Feb. 18, according to records in his personnel file show.
Additional records, dated Feb. 24, show Mueller’s leave has been extended through March 17.
We also asked for UC to discuss the officer’s work history and internal investigations.
We received this emailed response: “I can provide that Officer Mueller is not functioning as a sworn peace officer, as his police powers are suspended pending the current case.”
Mueller’s attorney declined to talk to us Friday, saying he saves his remarks for the courtroom.
The officer’s OVI arrest came less than two weeks after he received a written reprimand in connection with the domestic disturbance reported by a woman to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, according to his personnel file.
Mueller had been in an off-and-on relationship for the past four years with the woman and had recently broken up in the last month or so, according to UCPD’s investigative notes and summary.
She told UC Police he called her 30 times the evening of Dec. 12, 2019: 14 times in just three minutes between 8:48 p.m. and 8:51 p.m. and 16 more times over a two-hour period between 8:55 p.m. and 10:55 p.m., the internal report states.
She told them she did not answer these calls and he also texted her multiple times.
“Her text messages to Officer Mueller indicated for him to stop attempting to contact her and not to come to her house or she would call the police. Her text messages also stated for him to leave her alone," the UC investigative notes and summary states.
"Officer Mueller did arrive at her house, knocked on the door, and ring the doorbell multiple times. (She) did not make contact with Officer Mueller but she did call 911 once he arrived at her house. Officer Mueller left her residence before the police arrived and she never opened the door. Officer Mueller made no threats and she wants no action taken including filing a telecommunications harassment report with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.”
When UCPD interviewed Mueller about the incident, his account was consistent with hers, the records show.
He also admitted to consuming alcohol that night and provided proof he used Uber service for transportation. Mueller denied having his firearm with him during this incident, according to the summary.
The incident followed a 5-day suspension in July 2019 after UCPD determined Mueller violated state law by possessing a gun at The Corner Pub on Cooper Road the previous month, according to Thompson’s memo.
Mueller was put on paid administrative leave June 24, 2019, and stripped of his gun, badge and police powers, UCPD records show.
Montgomery police investigated the gun incident after the bar manager contacted them, an incident report shows.
The manager told police an off-duty police officer by the name Andrew Mueller showed his firearm and badge to a female patron of the bar, the report states. The manager told police the female patron “was very upset and anxious over the incident.”
Montgomery police alerted UCPD, who advised they would do an internal investigation into it as well.
Detective Lauren Frazier attempted to interview the woman, who said she wanted to text with them instead of talk on the phone, police records show.
She texted to the detective: “We were out talking on the patio with his dog Chase and conversing. I was getting a weird vibe from him and asked if he was an undercover cop and he said no and said ‘shh’ and stood up and flashed his badge and gun to me. That really freaked me out so I asked what county he worked for and he stated ‘Hamilton County’ and asked if he was on duty or off duty and asked what his badge number was and his full name because he scared me. He didn’t answer any of my questions but said that he worked earlier and just got off. He then left right away and I went in and asked (the bartender) if he paid with cash or card so I could get his name and I told her what happened.”
The detective texted back: “Ok, I appreciate you telling me what happened. Was he drinking alcohol while you were talking? Do you remember what? And when you say ‘flashed’ did he lift his shirt, touch his gun, pull out the gun, or something else?"
The woman responded: “Yes, he was. (The bartender) said that he was drinking double vodka and soda I believe she said and had 2 if I remember her telling me that correctly.”
Detective Frazier texted: “She did say that. Did you actually see him drinking the alcohol?”
The woman responded: “He pulled his shift to show me his gun and badge. The badge looked like it was clipped to his pants and the gun looked like it was tucked into his pants but was half in half out. I saw him order a drink at the bar I didn’t hear what he ordered but I did see him drinking the drinks outside while talking to him.”
The detective texted: “Ok, thanks for the clarification. Is there any specific reason why you got a bad vibe from him?”
She responded: “I’m not sure to be honest. He just made me feel weird in a way. I don’t know how I just felt that way. He was hitting on me and said he wanted to take me on a date. But I felt weird after a little"
Police texted: “Ok, that’s understandable. So, it is a felony of the fifth degree for a police officer to consume alcohol with his firearm. Would you like to see him charged and if so, would you be willing to testify in court? Or would you be willing to contact UC PD to file a complaint? If not, what would you like to see happen?”
The woman wrote back: “What would happen if I were to file a complaint? What he did was not okay and I want him to know that he cannot do that to other young ladies. Can I sleep on it and see what I wanna do?"
She would ultimately decline to participate in prosecuting the case, police records show.
When UCPD interviewed Mueller as part of their internal probe, they found Mueller’s statement "is consistent with (the woman/victim/witness) and the bartender, UCPD records show.
“Officer Mueller indicated that he did purchase and consume two vodka limewater and tonic doubles at the Corner Pub,” UCPD wrote in their internal investigation/complaint report. "According to Officer Mueller, during a casual conversation, (the woman/witness/victim) showed him a pepper ball gun in a holster which resembled a real firearm. He proceeded to offer her some advice, safety tips, and possible negatives with the pepper ball gun. She asked him if he was an undercover cop. He then proceeded to stand up and show her his UC badge and UC issued firearm by lifting up his shirt. He stated he used poor judgment but the reason for showing her the badge and firearm was to validate the previous advice he had given her.
Montgomery police wrote in their report they met with a prosecuting attorney at the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office about the investigation.
After consulting with prosecutor Rick Gibson, Montgomery police decided not to pursue criminal charges on Mueller, UCPD wrote in their internal investigation/complaint report.
“At this time, we do not have a witness who is willing to testify in court and we are unable to prove that Mr. Mueller was in possession of a firearm as required by the statute. This matter is closed...." Montgomery police wrote in their report.
Mueller didn’t contest his 5-day suspension. He wrote to UCPD he waived his opportunity, per the police union contract, to have a disciplinary conference-administrative hearing for the administrative charges and “hereby accept the discipline as determined per policy.”
Mueller began working at UCPD in February 2015 and quickly established himself as a valuable member of the campus police department, particularly when it came to community relations, his personnel records show.
He has numerous letters of recognition and was one of several UC officers honored in an award ceremony in 2018 after they saved the life of a construction worker in medical distress on the main campus.
“Officer Mueller is a very talented and kind officer. I am excited to see him grow and mature in his new role in Community Engagement. He has a passion to make a positive impact for our community members,” his rater wrote in the comment section of his most recently available job performance review.
Mueller was also noted for making “appropriate decisions based on sound judgment and critical thinking skills.”
In August 2017, then-UCPD Chief Anthony Carter recommended Mueller and another officer receive a commendation for “distinguishing themselves by being positive influences interacting with youth” and adults during the 11th Annual Peace Bowl Football Youth Classic and Cheer Showcase.
“The ‘seeds’ that these officers planted in developing positive relationships will grow and manifest in ways yet o be revealed,” Carter wrote.
The current chief gave him a similar commendation the following year.
“Please accept this commendation in appreciation for your commitment, dedication, and community engagement in helping with the 2018 Peace Bowl Classic,” Herold wrote. “Your engagement with the community was crucial in building partnerships and building trust with the youth participants and made the event a success. The overall success of this event helped build partnerships and collaboration between the University, the Department of Public Safety, the Police Division, and the community.
“Officer Mueller, you are deserving of this commendation for your teamwork and on-going commitment to community engagement and excellence.”
Before Mueller began working at UCPD, he served as an officer with Xavier University Police Department for two years and had worked part-time as a ranger for the Great Parks of Hamilton County for one year, according to his personnel file.
He graduated from high school in Missouri in 2009 and earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Xavier University in 2013.
When Mueller was undergoing his hiring process for UCPD, he took a polygraph in December 2014 to determine if he was attempting to conceal or withhold any information that would disqualify him from becoming a UCPD officer, according to a letter from Tri-State Polygraph Associates Inc. to UCPD Public Safety.
Just prior to the test but during the pre-test interview, Mueller disclosed that while working for Xavier University, he received a written reprimand for being late and also stated that he came into work one day, he was called into work early and “was sent home after his supervisor smelled alcohol about his person in breath. (Mueller) stated this was approximately one year ago," a copy of the report shows.
The document goes on to state: "While discussing the use of alcohol, the applicant admits to underage consumption beginning when he was 16 years old and states he has driven under the influence on at least ten occasions with the last time being approximately one year ago in the Xavier University area. The applicant states the most he can recall ever consuming prior to driving has been seven beers and mixed drinks.
"The applicant states in the past twelve months he has been totally intoxicated on at least ten occasions stating attending parties and the last time was two weeks ago. The applicant admits to knowingly purchasing his underage sister a 12 pack of beer on one occasion approximately two years ago.
"While discussing illegal use of drugs, the applicant admits to the possession of marijuana beginning when he was 16 years of age and states the last time he possessed it he was 20 years old.
“The applicant admits to possession of marijuana on more than 20 occasions during this time period.”
Following the pre-test interview, Mueller was examined on the polygraph using the standard techniques and procedures, the report states.
“After a careful interpretation of Andrew L. Mueller’s polygraph tracings, it is my opinion there was ‘No Deception Indicated’ on his answers to the pertinent questions. This examination was conducted with the understanding that the results would be confidential and for official use by the University of Cincinnati Police Division.”
A psychologist who evaluated him in December 2014 noted he was qualified and demonstrated an average skill and ability level.
During his psychological evaluation with Dr. James Daum, Mueller said repeated alcohol-on-the-breath incident while he was with Xavier University Police Department, according to a copy of Daum’s report “Psychological Evaluation for Police Officer.”
Mueller explained again that he was not scheduled to work that day, but was unexpectedly called to come in.
Mueller also disclosed during the psychological evaluation he drinks alcohol one to two times per week, and that his typical consumption ranges from three to five beers, according to a copy of Daum’s report.
Mueller said that the most he drank in one day during the past 12 months was 10 beverages, consisting of both beer and liquor, the report states. He said he drank this much on two or three occasions during the past 12 months. He estimated it would take six to seven beers to cause him to become intoxicated, and said that he has consumed at this level on five occasions over the past 12 months.
He said, according to the report, that he last drove under the influence “a couple of years ago. “
“He told me that there was one occasion during the past summer when he drank so much that he could not remember what happened,” Daum wrote in his report.
"Mr. Mueller told me that he ensures that there is at least a twelve hour time span between drinking alcohol and beginning his police duties. On the occasion when he was given a warning by the Xavier University Police Department, the span of time was four hours, but he was unexpectedly called in early. He denied having any alcohol related offenses. Mr. Mueller stated that he has not used alcohol to cope with stress or assist with sleeping. He indicated that he has never called in sick to work due to a hangover, and has not gone to work in this condition. He said that four years ago he was stopped by an officer and required to take a field sobriety test, but passed it. Mr. Mueller stated that he smoke marijuana approximately 15 times, and that the last occurrence was in 2011. He assured me that this was the extent of his involvement with illegal drugs.”
In the section of the psychological report marked “Concerns,” Daum wrote:
“Mr. Mueller reported receiving a warning from Xavier University Police Department for reporting for duty with the (odor) of alcohol on his breath. Although he was unexpectedly called in early, and would not normally allow this to occur, it is also noted that during this past summer, there was one occasion when he drank so much that he could not remember what happened. Mr. Mueller also reported drinking as much (as) ten alcoholic beverages on three occasions in the past 12 months.”